Metal and Hip-Hop supergroup Prophets of Rage, featuring members of Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill has released a new video called “The Ballot Or The Bullet”. Named after Malcolm X’s famous 1964 speech about the voting rights of black Americans, the offers an excerpt of three of the band’s unreleased tracks and its recent single, ‘Heart Afire’. The band is expected to reveal details of a new album, their second, soon. Continue reading
Tag Archives: (r)Evolution
Muse Release Mercy Video, New Album Drones Out Today
Muse, whose Drones (Warner Bros) album came out today, have released a video for the track ‘Mercy’. You can watch the video below:
Front man Michael Bellamy commented on the concept of Drones, which figures heavily in the ‘Mercy’ video treatment:
“To me, ‘Drones’ are metaphorical psychopaths which enable psychopathic behavior with no recourse. The world is run by Drones utilizing Drones to turn us all into Drones. Drones explores the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope, to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone, to their eventual defection from their oppressors.”
Enter The Labyrinth – Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates
Nearly two decades on from revolutionary opus Slaughter Of The Soul (Earache) Gothenburg pioneers At The Gates are back with a new album At War With Reality (Century Media), a blistering release featuring all the hallmarks of their sound. Arguably the band who helped inspire the Metalcore movement, a scene the band are quick to disown, anticipation for the new record and subsequent tour has reached fever pitch. Lounging on the couch backstage at Manchester’s Academy, Tomas Lindberg takes a sip of Rioja as he explains what led to the genesis of the new album. “We are better listeners than we were in our early twenties. It was probably a big factor in our breakup. Everyone has a veto on decisions made concerning recording or touring. Working with other people, in other bands has helped us learn how to communicate more effectively. The idea of writing together came through Anders. He is the main songwriter and everything goes through him. Working with him again has been very fruitful.”
Considering the immense pressure and level of expectation which would preceed such a record after such a long time apart it was perhaps no surprise the group elected to begin writing and recording sessions in secret. “It could have been negative if we announced it to early. That way we only had to please ourselves.” The frontman pondered. “If we had got to seven or eight songs into the project and did not like what we heard we could have disbanded without anyone ever knowing. When we put the teaser video on YouTube back in February the album was more or less written. We had to be honest to ourselves and our fans and not second guess what we felt was right. That would be selling out.”
A teacher by trade, Lindberg does not rely solely on income from At The Gates to survive. An articulate and composed gentleman, he is happy to wax lyrical upon the concept behind At War With Reality which hinges on the works of a group of philosophers and writers who comprise a largely South American literary movement known as ‘Magic Realism’:
“I was inspired by the way these intertextual post-modern writers. I delved into post structuralism views about the perception of reality and how different people perceive it. These writers are often self-referential. A lot of the songs are influenced by their novels. The line from ‘Spanish song..’ is from a chapter in the book ‘From Heroes and Tombs’ of a nightmarish dream one of the main characters has about the concept of God. I felt it had to be read in this manic Spanish voice which Anton (Resseingger) delivered with such style. It takes you to a nightmare world!”
Indeed a couple of the song titles are derived directly from these tomes, ‘The Circular Ruin’ and ‘The Book of Sand’ both come from the works of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. “I have been reading these authors for a while and found the concept (of Magic Realism) very inspiring. The French philosopher Michel Foucault wrote a lot of essays about structures of power but he wrote one book which was about how language could be used to alter people’s concept of reality which is ‘Death In The Labyrinth’ that song essentially explains what the concept of the record is about is in that song. There is not only one reality or truth but many.”
“The magic realism movement was one born out of oppression and frustration. The ideas of these Latin authors were presented in such a multilayered way as they wrote to criticise the oppressive states in which they lived in places like Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. In ‘Heroes In Tombs’ (the movement) was already questioning how the establishment was “perverting the hearts of men. At War With Reality is somewhat a cautionary tale, a warning against globalisation. They could not explain their ideas openly so they did it through their work. We are not a political band but we are criticising the materialistic, superficial culture of today.”
WORDS BY ROSS BAKER
HammerFall – (r)Evolution
An undercurrent to 2014’s metal story, particularly within Power Metal circles, has been that of a rediscovery of their essence and, ultimately, redemption by the more established bands whose works had shown diminishing returns since early vaunted and lauded releases; bands that have diluted, lost their way and their spark. Bands like Sonata Arctica and EdGuy have found the old magic and produced albums that don’t just throwback to yester-Golden-year, but are resplendent in the fairy dust of Power Metal brilliance, returning to form gloriously.
Despite pretty much being the catalyst for the return of Power Metal to a post nu-metal world with their classic debut Glory To The Brave in 1997, on (r)Evolution, their ninth album (all for Nuclear Blast), HammerFall find themselves needing to follow the narrative of other successful comebacks after the disappointing, limp and creatively redundant Infected and a decade of albums that whimpered in the shadows of their glorious first two.
The first thing to note is the return to Studio Fredman, and the reappearance of Fredrik Nordström in the producers chair for the first time since Legacy Of Kings, still to this date the band’s best outing, and the vibrancy he brings to their sound. Returning to the style that conquered Europe so many years ago, (r)Evolution hurtles out the gates with the self-referential ‘Hector’s Hymn’, a joyful call-to-arms that reasserts HammerFall’s trademarks, and screams that they are back on track and back on brand, mentally, lyrically but most important musically.
All the classic HammerFall elements slot into place, with main man Oscar Dronjak revitalised and doing what he does best, pulling out Dio-esque riffs on the fists-in-the-air ‘Live Life Loud’, or twisting the Priest strangle grip on the intro to ‘Tainted Metal’, with plenty of chugging power chords and flowing leads throughout. Where Joacim Cains sounded stifled on Infected, here his distinctive tones are free, as if he is enjoying life leading a heavy metal band playing traditional heavy metal once again, effortlessly finding the right melodies to turn songs into anthems replete with collosal choruses.
Both in the title of the album, and in several of the lyrics, there is an acknowledgement of what HammerFall is, does and should do, and by implication, the limitations that were exposed when they tried modernising and changing their sound too much. But the thing is, when HammerFall do what HammerFall does best, such as on the likes of ‘Bushido’ and ‘We Won’t Back Down’, it matters not that it has been 16 years since their last great album, only that on (r)Evolution they have found themselves again, and have lived up to their own legacy, the legacy of kings of Power Metal.